As stated in the previous post right now Team Red Stars has completed our initial reading allotment for the Self Published Science Fiction Competition and have cut 21 books from our 31 book allotment. This leaves us with 10 books to read in full and then advance 3 of those 10 into the next round. This means we have a Top Ten from the first round! Let’s take a look at these 10 books! Here they are in no particular order:
This one has me intrigued! Not sure where the story will go but the main character has me compelled to learn the answers!
I was hooked from the get go! SciFi with Space Travel? Yes please!
I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting when I opened up this book, but the character interactions won me over immediately!
What if we humans were gone? Would those that came after care to restore us?
You can’t help but cheer on this main character!
As you turn from page one to page two you realize this is a book you WANT to read!
The more you read the more this story pulls you in.
Really getting Rendezvous With Rama feels! That is a good thing.
Details matter and this one has the details that matter!
I had a hard time stopping reading this one to get to the first 10-20% of all the other books on the allotment!
There you have it! Team Red Stars’ first round top ten for the SPSFC! We encourage you to read along with us as we seek out the best self published SciFi book! Please check out our team’s blogs for further info on our Top Ten and all other things SPSFC related for our team:
Team Red Stars has completed our first round of reading! So we read at least 10-20% of 31 books and then selected ten to read all of before passing three of those on into the next round. This means that we sadly had to select 21 books to cut from the competition. This has not been an easy choice!
However at the heart of the Self Published Science Fiction Competition is the goal of bringing increased visibility to Self Published SciFi so after discussing it our team decided together to share mini reviews on the 21 books we have cut after the initial sample. Hopefully this helps the books gain more visibility and readership!
I’ll be featuring five of the books here and you’ll find the other sixteen divided between three of the other team members: WilliamSusy and Joseph will feature their posts at the same time as this one. Soon after this we’ll unveil our inner top ten that we’ll whittle down to three. Without further ado here are the five cuts I will be featuring, and personally intend on reading further in at a later date!
I really enjoy the premise and execution of this story! A conflict between humans and aliens, with a young individual who is caught between the two and torn on the inside about which is truly the side they should be supporting. I found this story to be emotionally moving, and truly intriguing. PLUS! I loveee the cover! This is a cover that catches my eye. The characters are well constructed and the author gives the depth within quick sketches that don’t slow down the story.
Such an excellent lead character! I can’t wait to see what adventures Quinn has! A young girl with a large destiny and a strong will who sets off across the galaxy to find what her future holds but ends up battling for her life. This is a VERY interesting story with great promise. One of the better main characters I’ve come across in a while, and very well written! Really draws you into the character’s life and story right from the start. Also a cover that I just love!
Petra had me hooked right from the start! In the star travel age there still is crime and imprisonment, but what if that prison were a whole planet, and what if there were dark secrets hidden in the system, and a person positioned perfectly to bring them to light, while a prison planet uprising is brewing! I normally don’t do the “this book reminded me of this other author” comparisons in my reviews, but in starting this book I was immediately drawn back into my teen years when I started reading an author by the name of Timothy Zahn. I really felt like I was reading something Zahn might have written, and just enjoyed the magical ability some stories have to draw you in and make you forget everything but the story you are reading. That’s an incredible gift to encounter, so I am eager to see where this story goes!
This Blue Ball by Wayne V Miller was not the story I expected upon reading the description! It is intriguing, engaging, and quite the adventure to try and sort out what the story within the story is. I really enjoy a book that makes you pause and consider what you just read, and here is one that will do just that!
What interesting world building right from the start! A SciFi in which the fates of planets are determined by single combat, and this is the story of those warriors. Excellently written in a style that draws you in and keeps you turning page after page, this is a fully realized story that I enjoy reading! Solidly interesting characters coupled with a promising concept that is delivered well. I really want to get to know more of these characters!
There are the five cut books I am featuring on my website. As stated above please check the websites of my fellow team mates for the other sixteen we cut, and we’ll share the ten we will be reading in their entirety soon. BUT please let me encourage y’all to click on the links for these five very interesting books and give them a try yourself! I think you just might discover a new favorite author or two if you do!
As y’all know I have the joy of working with Team Red Stars for the amazing SPSFC and we are almost ready to announce our cuts from our initial allotment of books! We will then follow that with our release of our Team’s Top Ten Books from the allotment. These are the ten we will read in full prior to passing three along to the third round of the competition.
So what does all this mean? Well I am glad you asked because I value communication! Our team was given 31 Self Published SciFi Books to read 10-20% of and then cut 21 of those books, leaving us with 10 to read in full. We have worked hard at this and while it has not been easy to cut those 21 books we have done so and we look forward to sharing these cuts with you soon!
Why are we not sharing the cuts yet? Because at the heart of the SPSFC is a goal to bring greater visibility to more Self Published SciFi Books! So our team talked amongst ourselves and we have decided that we want to provide feedback not only on our Top Ten but also on the 21 that were cut. This can take a little time to write up. So we are creating a soft deadline of next weekend.
Now to break the fourth wall as it were and talk directly with y’all, I started this blog post hours ago and had to pause it to take care of and spend time with my family, and as I write this I’m just thinking about and appreciating how much of a labor of love this is for the reader/judges and also for the authors! Everyone is pouring in their personal time here, and I want to say a heartfelt thank you and we see you. Thank you.
Ok so the goal: next weekend (Nov 13,14) our team will give brief reviews of each of the 21 books we are cutting, and then we will post our team’s top ten!
So please check out our teams blogs and follow along for this fun journey! You can find us here:
Let me just start out by saying you should read The Wrack by John Bierce! This book is such a unique Fantasy! I’m really happy I had the opportunity to join in on this blog tour featuring this book and thankful to Storytellers On Tour for allowing me to participate! Please click that link to view the tour schedule so that you can see all the great reviews by other reader/reviewers who also took part. Ok ok I know you’re interested in what this book is all about so without further ado I present to you the book blurb:
The Wrack by John Bierce
Published: April 23, 2020
Genre: Epidemiological Fantasy
Age Group: Adult
Plague has come to the continent of Teringia.
As the Wrack makes its slow, relentless march southwards, it will humble kings and healers, seers and merchants, priests and warriors. Behind, it leaves only screams and suffering, and before it, spreads only fear.
Lothain, the birthplace of the Wrack, desperately tries to hold itself together as the plague burns across it and its neighbors circle like vultures. The Moonsworn healers would fight the Wrack, but must navigate distrust and violence from the peoples of Teringia. Proud Galicanta readies itself for war, as the Sunsworn Empire watches and waits for the Wrack to bring its rival low.
And the Wrack advances, utterly unconcerned with the plans of men.
I had never heard of Epidemi… that word that I’d have to copy and paste to spell… Fantasy before, and so this was my very first dive into this subgenre! It was FASCINATING! Most Fantasy books focus on characters or a quest, so I started reading this book with that as my loose expectation. I was wrong. The structure of this book is uniquely situated so that each chapter reads like a short story, and those short stories follows the plague! There are characters who reappear as the story develops, but the main driving force of this book is The Wrack itself, and it is neat to see how it develops as the story unfolds! That said there is one chapter in particular that just gripped my heart featuring a beautiful soul of a person who finds themself isolated in the desert. You’ll know it when you read it, and I’ll bet you tear up too just like I did.
For me the ending of a story really matters. I can forgive all kinds of flaws in books if you give me an ending that causes me to stop and say “That is the right ending for this story” and this book delivers on that. With the structure of this story it can be tricky to end a story like this but the author pulls it off masterfully.
Speaking of the author here are some links if you would like to know more about John Bierce:
Now one thing I really enjoy about this book blog tour is that not only am I able to read this excellent book and encourage y’all to read it, I am also able to tell you that you can win a free physical copy of the book! There are five copies being given away free! Details on that are found here.
Seriously I hope you give this book a read! You can find it on GoodReads and on Amazon and I think you will really enjoy it. One thing I neglected to mention earlier is that if you enjoy WorldBuilding (and I do) then I think you’ll really appreciate this book! It is a bright star in the sky worth noticing.
All of us have massive TBR piles, or shelves, or lists, right? Well a friend on Instagram @Jetwithjess has created a fun “challenge” for attacking your TBR this year called #20For20Books in honor of the year 2020! It’s easy to join in. All you need to do is pick out twenty books that you already own from your TBR and read those twenty books over the course of this year! If you want to include a reread or want to add a book you don’t own yet but have wanted to read for ages that’s fine too, it’s all meant to be fun!
The difficult part for me was selecting just twenty books! There are so many boos on my TBR that I want to read! But I have narrowed my list down to these twenty books:
1 Beyond Apollo Barry Malzberg
2 Best Served Cold Joe Abercrombie
3 The Curse Of The Mistwraith Janny Wurts
4 Inversions Iain M Banks
5 Ancillary Sword Anne Leckie
6 The Land You Never Leave Angus Watson
7 Relic Of Sorrows Lindsay Buroker
8 The Deadbringer E M Markoff
9 The Mirror’s Truth Michael Fletcher
10 The Crown Of Stones Magic Scars C L Schneider
11 The House Of Sacrifice Anna Smith Spark
12 The Heart Of What Was Lost Tad Williams
13 Shadow And Flame Gail Z Martin
14 Eye Of Terra Aaron Dembski-Bowden
15 Fleet Of Knives Gareth L Powell
16 The Scorched Earth Drew Karpyshyn
17 The Sword Of The Lictor Gene Wolfe
18 The Citadel Of The Autarch Gene Wolfe
19 Fallen Dragon Peter Hamilton
20 Iron Gold Pierce Brown
Do you see any favorites on the list or ones you’d like to read to? Are you going to join in? I’m curious what books will make your #20For20Books list! Hope you join in!
Every now and again a friend will recommend a book by their friend and you wonder if it’s as good as they say it is. It’s a reasonable doubt to have because we all want to paint our friends in a positive light. So needless to say when several of my Bookstagram friends started insisting I need to read Michael Reid Jr’s books I had some hesitations because I was worried they might just be being nice to their friend, but so many voices I trust kept echoing this so I said ok! I am so happy I did!
Sins Of The Father is the first book I’ve read by Michael Reid Jr but it won’t be the last! This was the best thriller I’ve read since Tom Clancy. That’s not hyperbole that’s just truth. Part political thriller, part adventure, part anti terrorism, part special forces, all intensely woven together into one fast paced drama that quickly delivers on stories!
Sins Of The Father is actually a sequel to Debt Of Fear which I haven’t read yet but I’ll be reading soon! I always suggest reading books in order but from personal experience I can say you can read these in any order you want to. I just suggest you read them. A lot of stories try to build tension by hiding the story from you. This book doesn’t have to use tricks like that: it’s tense from the start and the story immediately unfolds before your eyes! It draws you in and keeps you turning page after page.
Seriously check this author out! Click on the links I provided to see his books on Amazon or his website. Once you read one book by him you’ll join me in eagerly reading everything by him.
As y’all know one of my goals is to feature independently published (or small publisher) books that I feel shine brightly in the night sky! I want to bring quality stories to your attention that you might otherwise miss, and I have an excellent one to bring to your attention!
Abigail Rhodes: Seeds by Michelle Allen is one of the more uniquely twisty turny stories that I’ve read! The author’s unique voice shines through as the story draws you in deeper and deeper with each new revelation. The description from Amazon sets the stage well:
The Lamp Light Society believes they own the world. The Organization believes they can control it. In a world where humans, monsters, and even gods are attempting to maintain a fragile balance, an unknown entity has arrived whose agenda may only be chaos. Her name is Abigail Rhodes.
Right from the start you are thrown into this world, but you don’t feel lost! You feel intrigued and curious. Before you know it you’ve read more, and the style has drawn you in while the substance grabs ahold of you! I was very impressed by the story and found that I couldn’t set it down. I had to keep on reading to see where it went, and now I can’t wait to see where the next story the author tells will take us!
This is a bright star that is worth your attention, and a story that will intrigue you! I’m really looking forward to hearing your thoughts on it so please give this book a read and let me know what you think!
As you can probably guess my TBR Pile has actually grown so much that it is a living breathing sentient being and desires world domination…. but that’s another post entirely! This post is about how I was inspired by my friend The Little Red Reviewer to select five books from my TBR Pile, read the first fifty pages, and decide if I want to read them now, later, or never! Time to find out which books were YAY, which were NAY, and if any were MEH! The books I selected were:
Norwegian By Night by Derek B Miller
The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
The Vorrh by B Catling
The Depths Of Time by Roger MacBride Allen
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
Norwegian By Night by Derek B Miller is interesting! I saw the cover and was immediately intrigued. A Crime Fiction that follows an older Korean War vet named Sheldon as his last surviving family member takes him away from NY to live in Norway. Sheldon is possibly suffering from dementia, he is xenophobic, he is combative, and he is out of his element. Yet he opens his door to help try to save a lady and her child from a violent crime which leads to an unexpected adventure. This book was really captivating. Sheldon isn’t a good person or a bad person; he just is a difficult person with uncomfortable views that have been negatively reinforced through the years, but he’s a person that you want to get to know and see how he might develop! Will I continue reading? Yes!
The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes is a book that I have wanted to read for ages! I’ve heard only good things and rave reviews for this book. I picked it up excitedly andddddd forced myself through 50 pages. There is a house that time travels and it has selected a killer to travel through time and it wants him to murder people? It’s an interesting premise but I’m not impressed with either execution of the premise or the characters. I sadly found the book quite off putting. Will I continue reading? No.
The Vorrh by B Catling was a book that captivated me as soon as I saw the cover! It was a gift from my lovely wife, and I went in knowing that it’s an odd story, but I don’t think I was prepared for exactly how odd it was! This is one that needs to be a solo focused read. Will I continue reading? Not now, but one Winter I’ll read this odd book!
The Depths Of Time by Roger MacBride Allen is a SciFi that has to do with the spread of humanity through the galaxy via time travel through closely guarded worm holes. It starts with a grand premise and then quickly gets lost in the weeds. Way too many little details that slow down the story and make it an unappealing read for me. Will I continue reading? Nah.
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell You should stop whatever you’re reading and get this book now! A near future SciFi in which we’ve discovered alien life, and while humanity is deciding how to approach and contact them: The Jesuits do what they’ve done throughout their history and send their own mission to make contact. This book is so smartly written! The characters are fully realized, the style of writing creates a mystery that draws you in, and the author’s writing is a joy to read! Will I continue reading? YES!
In the end: Yay, Meh, or Nah:
Norwegian By Night Yay!
The Shining Girls Nah!
The Vorrh Meh…
The Depths Of Time Nah!
The Sparrow YAYYYYY!!!!
Have you read any of these? Would you Yay, Meh, or Nah any of these? Also: I’d love hearing from you if this post has inspired you to try the five books fifty pages method yourself! Let me know about the results!
If 2016 doesn’t kill me then I’m going to get to celebrate a new year an another #VintageSciFiMonth in January! I’m so excited. Vintage SciFi Month has become an important part of my reading schedule. What is it? Basically: In January we read SciFi or Fantasy books published prior to our birth year! Check out the founder LittleRedReviewer’s post on VintageSciFiMonth for more details!
Now as to my reading plans for January:
DORSAI! By Gordon R Dickson is the first book of his incredible Childe Cycle and I’ve been working through this series each January! This will be a reread for me BECAUSE I’m reading it with some friends who are starting their own Vintage SciFi Month journeys! If you aren’t sure what to read for this month please consider reading this book with us! You can purchase it here. If you want to see my review on DORSAI! you can find it here. I really enjoy this book which is why the next book on my list is….
Tactics Of Mistake also by GRD and also in the Childe Cycle! It is the fourth book in the series yet second chronologically. I’m excited to read this for the first time and discover more about this great universe.
What would a Vintage SciFi Month be here at RedStarReviews if there wasn’t a little Frank Herbert? The Worlds Of Frank Herbert is a collection of his Short Stories that I’ve been slowly working on and will continue with during this month!
Michael Moorcock’s book The Silver Warriors is Fantasy, but Fantasy is totally ok by the rules of Vintage SciFi Month! I loved reading the Elric Saga and I can’t wait to see what this book has in store for me!
Titan by John Varley was published in 1979 which is AFTER my birth year but it’s ok some rules can be bent AND the founder of the Month oks and books 1979 and prior so if your birth year is making it tough to find a SciFi book that interests you then open it up to 1979 and before! This whole month is supposed to be fun so feel free to have some fun!
Speaking of fun: I’ll be announcing a little Vintage SciFi Month giveaway here on my site on New Year’s Day! Stay tuned for details! Hope y’all have some excellent books picked out for the sixth annual Vintage SciFi Month!
This past February I decided to clean up my currently reading list. The goal was to finish the books I had started in 2015. It was a great goal yet it was a little ambitious for such a short month. So now I’ve decided to try something different and set December aside as the month to attack my currently reading stack!
This means I’ll attempt to work through these seven books in December! I fully expect to fall short and probably to start reading an extra book or two alongside these seven, but it’s nice to have goals! I figure that with December being such a busy month it is a better time to try and finish books I’ve already started rather than start new books. We’ll see how it goes!
Betrayer by Aaron Dembski-Bowden is the 24th book of the ongoing Horus Heresy series I love so much. Always good to have some GrimDark Military SciFi on hand!
The Worlds Of Frank Herbert is a short story collection from the master of SciFi and a good way to prepare me for January’s Vintage SciFi Month!
Awakenings by Edward Lazellari is an Urban Fantasy that is starting off in a very kick ass grab your attention fashion.
Gene Wolfe’s Book Of The New Sun series is a masterpiece of SciFi and I’m loving it. The goal is to complete the second book The Claw Of The Conciliator.
Gail Z Martin’s War Of Shadows is the third book of her awesome Ascendent Kingdoms saga. Post magic apocalypitic fantasy? With good characters? Easy to enjoy!
These last two are the long reads that I doubt I’ll complete in December and expect to be reading into 2017.
Bloodheir by Brian Ruckley is the second book of The Godless World trilogy and I couldn’t keep myself from starting it after I finished Winterbirth.
House Of Leaves by Mark Z Danielewski is off to a creepy start and I know this one will take me a while.
So that’s my December Reading Plans! Finishing up 2016 and getting ready for new reads in 2017!